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Los Angeles Accident Rate Rose 30% in 2021

Los Angeles skyline at dusk on a clear day

Los Angeles is known for its congested roads and busy intersections. With a population of over 4 million people, accidents are bound to happen. While Angelenos saw a decrease in accidents at the start of the Covid 19 pandemic, the LA accident rate increased dramatically in 2021.

According to Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) statistics, the number of reported accidents increased by 30% in 2021, with 294 fatalities. This is a significant increase, and it is tragic that so many lives have been lost to traffic collisions.

Decreasing the number of accidents has long been a priority for the City. The Vision Zero program in Los Angeles was created in 2015 with the goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2025. However, between 2015 and 2021, Los Angeles has seen a 58% increase in traffic deaths. Traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children in Los Angeles. Clearly, Vision Zero is not living up to its billing.

2021 Los Angeles Accident Statistics

As you can see in the graph below, Los Angeles had more traffic accident deaths in 2021 than any year over the last decade. There were 294 deaths in Los Angeles in 2021, compared with 241 fatalities the year before, a 22% increase.

Even though fewer cars were on the road during 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the data suggests that motor vehicle accident deaths did not decrease dramatically. In March 2020, bumper-to-bumper traffic in Los Angeles was reduced by about 24%. Nevertheless, the number of traffic accident deaths was close to unchanged between 2019 and 2020, even with fewer vehicles traveling on Los Angeles roads throughout the beginning of the pandemic.

Studies from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety show that even though most people decreased their driving during the Covid-19 pandemic, a small proportion (4%) who were younger and mostly male, actually increased their driving. What’s more, those who decided to drive more were willing to take more risk and drive unsafely compared to average drivers, even after taking several factors into account, such as age, gender, and how often they drove.

According to Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “Safety-minded individuals drove less, while many who increased their driving tended to engage in riskier behaviors behind the wheel.”

Other accident types that also saw an increase in 2021 include:

  • DUIs
  • Hit and run collisions
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents

The increased danger on our roads is not just limited to Los Angeles. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), during the first half of 2021, an estimated 20,160 people across the country lost their lives as a result of motor vehicle accidents, which is up 18.4% from 2020. This is the highest number of deaths over a half a year since 2006.

Reasons for the Increase in Fatal LA Traffic Accidents

According to a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more drivers who reported engaging in risky behaviors in the 30 days before the survey also increased their driving during the pandemic.

The risky behaviors within the survey include:

  • Speeding 10+ miles per hour (mph) over the speed limit on a residential street
    • 51% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 35% - people who did not increase their driving
  • Reading a text
    • 50% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 33% - people who did not increase their driving
  • Red-light running on purpose
    • 45% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 25% - people who did not increase their driving
  • Changing lanes aggressively
    • 43% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 20% - people who did not increase their driving
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
    • 21% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 13% - people who did not increase their driving
  • Alcohol-impaired driving
    • 13% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 6% - people who did not increase their driving
  • Driving after cannabis use
    • 13% - people who increased driving during the pandemic
    • 4% - people who did not increase their driving

Speeding Was One of the Leading Causes for LA Fatal Accident Increase

Unfortunately, some of the bad driving habits seen during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic continued in 2021. National data from NHTSA indicates that the average speeds people drive have increased since the pandemic. While drivers in 2020 drove on average between 46 and 50 mph, drivers increased their rate of speed to between 51 to 55 mph during the first half of 2021.

While the disparity may not seem very significant, studies show that increased driving speeds increase the risk of accidents and the severity of injuries sustained in those accidents.

Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer Team with Proven Track Record

If you have sustained injuries or your loved one has been killed in a Los Angeles car accident caused by someone else, you may be owed compensation for your losses. Our legal team is prepared to do everything in our power to get you and your family the compensation you deserve.

Our main Los Angeles law offices are located in Westwood near the University of California, Los Angeles. While we are a local firm, we have the resources and experience to litigate cases across the nation. Since 1985, our personal injury lawyers have earned more than $4 billion in verdicts and settlements across a wide range of practice areas. We know what it takes to win big cases, no matter the opponent. Don’t take our word for it—read our client reviews to see what we have done for others in similar cases.

Contact our office by calling (855) 948-5098 or submitting an online contact form today to schedule your free consultation with one of our skilled motor vehicle accident attorneys.


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